Jason O’Halloran took a commanding pole position for this afternoon’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship race at Thruxton, the McAMS Yamaha rider getting the better of Glenn Irwin (Honda Racing) and a flying Ryan Vickers (RAF regular & Reserve Kawasaki) during the Superpicks Qualifying session.
The big shock though was reigning champion Josh Brookes failing to get out of Q1 and ending up in 20th place and on the seventh row for the 15-lap race while Vickers has a three place grid penalty due to a delayed reaction to a red flag in free practice yesterday
It was Irwin, Xavier Fores, Tarran Mackenzie, Vickers, Gino Rea and Storm Stacey who advanced from Q1 and then it was down to the real business of Q2.
O’Halloran set the early pace at 1’14.741s, the first sub 1’15s lap of the weekend, followed by Peter Hickman FHO Racing BMW), championship leader Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati), Mackenzie, Rea and Lee Jackson (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) but Irwin quickly moved up to second and joined O’Halloran in the 1’14s bracket.
However, the Australian’s second lap saw him up the pace further to 1’14.428s, which gave him an advantage of four tenths of a second, and whilst Hickman remained in third, Vickers had moved up to fourth ahead of Iddon and new sixth placed man Danny Kent (Buildbase Suzuki).
Tommy Bridewell was in trouble on the Oxford Products Ducati though and after three laps found himself at the bottom of the timesheets in 18th.
As the session wore on, the leading two remained untouched and comfortably clear of third but with two minutes to go, Vickers moved up to the front row which pushed Hickman off the front row and down to fourth.
Iddon and Kent held onto fifth and sixth respectively and it was an impressive Dan Linfoot (TAG Honda) who took seventh ahead of Jackson, Mackenzie and Bradley Ray (Rich Energy OMG Racing BMW).
Danny Buchan (Synetiq BMW), currently third overall in the championship standings, took 11th.